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Bronco notes: Fangio prepared all week for Cam to play

Broncos-Pats game Monday will be televised on KTVD Channel 20. Mark Barron suffers a pec injury while rehabbing his hamstring.
Credit: AP
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio takes part in drills during an NFL football practice Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — If there’s even a remote chance a star will play, it doesn’t make sense to prepare to play against his less-skilled backup.

It’s always easier to adjust from the top down.

The Broncos prepared this week to play against Cam Newton even though the New England Patriots star quarterback has been sidelined the past week with COVID-19. Newton is a dual-threat, run-pass option who is difficult to defend. The way his backups, Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham, played in a 26-10 loss at Kansas City Monday night, the Broncos would have an easier time defending either one of them on the fly.

While there reportedly was a chance Newton would have cleared the virus protocols in time to play against the Broncos on the originally scheduled Sunday date, that chance expands now that the game has been pushed back a day to Monday.

“Yeah, I mean we’ve been under that assumption the whole time that he would be playing,’’ Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said in a Zoom media conference Friday. “And then adjust if he’s not. Just like Kansas City did last week with the late positive test (from Newton) in the week. Just like Pittsburgh had to do against us when Drew (Lock) got hurt in the second series of our game. …

“Yeah, we’re anticipating Newton playing but we’ll be ready if he’s not the quarterback.”

Meanwhile, Fangio would not commit to his own starting quarterback. Brett Rypien remains the expected starter as of Friday, although Lock has been practicing and taking the occasional practice rep this week for the first time since suffering a strained rotator cuff in the Broncos’ week 2 game at Pittsburgh.

Change but no surprise

Fangio was asked if he agreed with defensive lineman Shelby Harris’ sentiment that moving the game back a day hurts the Broncos more than the Patriots – even though the delay was caused by three positive tests from New England players.

“From the start of this season, all the way back to when training camp started, we all knew that the NFL would not go clean with no positive tests for the entire season,’’ Fangio said. “We knew there would be some positive tests. And those positive tests would cause some inconveniences and change of schedules and adjustments.

“It just so happens now that we’re part of the adjustments because New England’s our opponent this week. They’ve had some positive tests. It’s on us to be able to adjust, adapt, improvise and be ready to play the game on Monday night. I’m confident we will do that.”

Channel 20 to broadcast Broncos-Pats game

One positive from the game change: KTVD Channel 20(Comcast channel 5) picked up the local, over-the-air TV broadcast rights for the Broncos-Patriots game beginning at 3 p.m. Chris Fowler, a graduate of Colorado Springs' Palmer High School and the University of Colorado, will call the game along with his longtime sidekick Kirk Herbstreit. Laura Rutledge will be the sideline reporter.

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Denver Broncos linebacker Mark Barron, second from left, joins his new teammates, from left, linebackers Josh Watson, Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson in a break from drills during an NFL football practice Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in Englewood, Colo.

Barron has second injury

During the process of rehabilitating his hamstring injury, Broncos inside linebacker Mark Barron suffered a pectoral injury that will delay his return.

A nine-year veteran who signed with the Broncos two weeks into training camp, Barron has yet to play this season. He suffered a hamstring strain during the team’s final stadium scrimmage. After working on his hamstring injury on a side field through the first two weeks of the regular season, Barron was placed on injured reserve in week 3.

There is hope he can return after the Broncos’ bye in week 8. Barron, who turns 31 this month, was signed to a one-year, $1.75 million contract with a chance to make another $46,875 each time he is on the active game-day roster.

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos running back LeVante Bellamy (32) takes part in drills during an NFL football training practice Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Bellamy tweaks knee

Rookie running back LeVante Bellamy suffered a knee injury in practice Thursday that is expected to sideline him for the game Monday at New England. Fangio didn’t think it was a long-term injury. With running back Phillip Lindsay returning this week, Bellamy might have been inactive, anyway.

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